Pristine beaches, sunshine, picturesque locales and great parties; these are pictures that come to the mind of an average Indian when one thinks about Goa. Unfortunately, it looks like all good things will be forced to end – thanks to limelight-hungry Pramod Muthalik and his saffron moral police outfit, the Sri Ram Sene.
Like many other vermin, Muthalik began his political career in mid-seventies as a swayamsevak and soon his potent venom was appreciated by ultra-right saffron outfits such as VHP and Bajrang Dal, who put him in charge of key organisational affairs. His anti-Muslim diatribe was music to the ears of the BJP that was rapidly expanding its presence across Karnataka. His vitriolic hate speeches against Muslims helped BJP to strengthen itself in North Karnataka.
If it was BS Yeddyurappa who can be credited with steering the ship till it docked at the port of power, Muthalik was one among the several cannons that regularly pounded anything non-saffron and secular that appeared in their sights.
The local Hindutva chieftain, who was hitherto unheard of in the rest of the country, literally stole the limelight with an attack on a Mangalore pub in 2009. Muthalik and his goons stormed a pub to enforce their diktat of routing ‘Western moral corruption’ and attacked the patrons, including women.
The move was leaked to selective media groups and they were present, cameras on, when the moral police beat up, groped and molested women in the melee, as one would put it, in full media glare.
Considering that Muthalik is close to scoring a half-century in the number of criminal cases against him, his freedom and unabated activities are tributes to an impotent system that spares offenders and targets victims.
Goa is famous for its pluralistic culture where people from all religions have been living in harmony and happiness in the Goan way of life. Life in this tiny state allows you to be what you are and enjoy it to the fullest, as long as you are not a nuisance to others. And this is the reason people from all over the world flock to this tiny sun-kissed state to savour all things good in life.
The beach parties are nothing short of legendary and the environment is one of the safest in the country for tourists, especially for women. However, this may no longer be the case when bloodhounds of moral police patrol the area looking for fresh meat. If Muthalik has his way and his outfit opens shop in Goa, all that we know as Goa and its way of life are under threat.
Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar has ‘warned’ the outfit that it won’t be allowed to take law into its hands and has talked about ‘dire consequences’ if there is violence. Bravo CM, but sorry no one is fooled here. Parrikar should know, as anyone with average intelligence would, that outfits like the one headed by Muthalik survive on extreme action and use of force.
If Muthalik and his cronies are so concerned about women, they should be out on the streets protecting the fairer sex from eve-teasers, molesters and rapists. Of course, that’s not possible as the moral police believes that women are to blame for attacks on them.
Every region in the country is unique in its culture, traditions and way of life. No one should be allowed to force their version of ‘acceptable behaviour’ on others. We don’t need these saffron Taliban here. They are dinosaurs, belonging to the era when widows were thrown into their husbands’ pyres. Media should ignore them and deny them the limelight that is the lifeblood for such outfits; and the government should crush them without mercy.Self-appointed defenders of moral fabric, you are alone in your journey to the Dark Ages.
The writer works for Postnoon
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My interests lie in current affairs, social issues and political analysis. A strong believer of independent thinking and healthy scepticism.